Our Revolution, the political non-profit that grew out of the failed presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), endorsed Democrat Tom Perriello Friday in his bid for Virginia governor.
In a statement explaining the endorsement, Our Revolution’s president, Jeff Weaver, noted that Perriello is the only candidate in either party who has pledged not to accept campaign donations from Dominion, the state’s largest utility and its biggest political donor.
“We believe that our democracy should be one in which candidates work for their constituents, not corporate donors,” the statement read.
The endorsement comes after Sanders himself gave threw his support behind Perriello last week.
It allows Perriello to tap into Our Revolution’s extensive email list in his quest for donations and volunteers, and gives his campaign the imprimatur of the progressive movement. The attention from the organization also further raises the profile of a gubernatorial race that is already perceived by national parties as an early test of politics in the age of Donald Trump.
Perriello jumped into the governor’s race in January and is challenging Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam for the Democratic nomination. Northam, who has been endorsed by nearly every Democrat elected to local or statewide office in Virginia, had been expecting a smooth path to the nomination.
A new poll released this week showed Perriello, a former congressman, gaining on Northam. Among Democratic-leaning voters, 25 percent backed Perriello while 20 percent supported Northam. The survey, from Quinnipiac University , showed that Perriollo’s lead is tenuous, falling within the range of sampling error and with more than half of voters still undecided.
Perriello and Northam each drew 19 percent of voters in the organization’s last poll in February.
In hypothetical general election matchups, the poll found that either Democratic candidate would easily beat a Republican by double digits.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary in November. Competing for the GOP nomination are Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman Corey A. Stewart and state Sen. Frank W. Wagner (Virginia Beach). The primaries for both parties are scheduled for June 13.